Psalms 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! –ESV
How often have we stood in the shadows and watched as others partake of the goodness of God, thinking instinctively that we have no portion in this? Even many who have some type of relationship with God, do not realize what is theirs experientially in Christ Jesus.
People can tell other people all they want, that God is good. Sometimes we can even inspire hope in someone to the point where they will reach out and taste. This is what we should strive for. But the fact remains, that until they do taste for themselves and see that God is good, there is no depth in the idea itself.
That is why the greatest intellectual Christians can draw large crowds, but people treat it as entertainment. There are great debates and scholarly methods displayed to the glory of those putting them on. It is something to tickle the fancy for a few hours and make people feel mentally stimulated. But when the hard times hit, this is not enough to sustain.
Same with emotional stimulation. Like intellectuals, there are those who draw great crowds because of their ability to stimulate peoples’ emotions. This is not sufficient to sustain a lifetime of faith either.
The only thing that can sustain a lifetime of true faith, is experiencing God’s faithfulness and returning faithfulness to Him by the strength we draw from His Spirit. Otherwise we will have shallow roots and the first storm that comes will blow away the wisp we called faith.
The Bible is a very practical book in many cases. It is full of directions, keys and steps we can take to experience the presence and faithfulness of God. I don’t think we can do any better in our methods than what the great men of God have already done through the inspiration of the Spirit of God.
After tasting and seeing the goodness of the Lord and taking refuge in Him, there is plenty of room for good feelings that are a product of our experience. There is also plenty of room for knowledge and wisdom after experiencing God for ourselves. The difference is, we need to use what we learn, to draw into an even deeper experience with the living God, or it is all wasted.
In 1 Corinthians Chapter 2, Paul says that when he first came to Corinth, he decided not to use lofty speech or wisdom, but only proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Paul was a very learned man and could have given them as much intellectualism as anyone could desire. But he understood that they first needed to experience the goodness of God through Jesus before wisdom became of any use to them.
Later in that chapter, Paul says that among the mature they imparted wisdom. I think there is a powerful lesson in this. Many times I have seen people who should be ready for the deeper things of God, still returning to the basics, over and over again. And there are those who haven’t experienced much of the goodness of God yet, who are attempting to comprehend scripture through the intellect. There is an order to all things and we will do well to follow it.